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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Elisabeth and Sally Burdon
Booksellers

Interviewed by AbeBooks: "Sisters in antiquarian bookselling: meet Elisabeth and Sally Burdon"

Published on 30 April 2018
Meet Elisabeth (left) and Sally Burdon. A pair of sisters involved in the antiquarian bookselling community and yet operating businesses thousands of miles apart. Elisabeth runs Old Imprints in Portland, Oregon, and is one of the most interesting sellers of ephemera that we know. Sally runs Asia Bookroom in Canberra, Australia, a business that specializes in Asian books, art, and ephemera. Both sell on AbeBooks and we’re thrilled that they partner with us. Sally is also President of ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers), so these are two booksellers with much to talk about. They were kind enough to answer our questions about their family, bookselling and much more.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

43d California Book Fair and the State of the Trade

Last weekend's 43d California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Los Angeles, the first major book fair of the year, provided an excellent overview of where the rare book trade now stands and where it may be headed.
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Article

Glub

In the week leading up to this year's New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, and its two "shadow" fairs, I'd been in a state of preternatural excitement. Two promoters - Marvin Getman of Impact Events Group and John and Tina Bruno of Flamingo Eventz – were going head to head for supremacy in the satellite book fair market. First Getman crashed the Bruno's turf by scheduling a rival New York shadow show, then the Brunos trumped Getman by moving their shadow show to a new location just across Lexington Ave. from the big show at the Park Avenue Armory. Cold war ensued. It began to get nasty, and I became increasingly excited by the steady stream of blog fodder. There could not be two more different promoters – in terms of personality, management style, and business practices – than Getman and the Brunos. By last Friday night I'd half convinced myself that their collision would result in a black hole of such magnitude that the entire trade would be sucked behind an unbreachable event horizon, allowing us all to go home and rake our lawns. But something else happened. Or maybe I should say nothing happened.
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Article

Mania and Imagination - Perils and Pleasures of the Private Collector Present and Future

King's College, Cambridge, will hold a follow-up conference on 18 and 19 June 2016 to focus on the theme of modern private collecting, one of Munby's great interests. Titled "Mania and Imagination: Perils and Pleasures of the Private Collector Present and Future" this conference aims to investigate the nature of book collecting by private individuals today, and to look at the future in a rapidly changing world. The speakers are collectors themselves, or are involved in the manuscript and book trade, or study modern collectors and their collections. They include ABA member Justin Croft, Mirjam Foot, Meg Ford, Peter Jones, Michael Meredith and Toshiyuki Takamiya. The event will also feature themed discussion panels and presentations from young collectors and bibliographers.
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Article

First-Edition - Identification by Publisher

In the case of titles published before 1900, the key to first-edition identification is often the date on the title page. The vast majority of first editions published before 1900 had the year of publication on the title page (this is true for fiction and non-fiction titles). The presence of a date on the title page alone may identify books published prior to the mid-1800s as first editions. A matching date on the copyright page (or the back of the title page) often identifies a book published in the mid - to late 1800s as a first edition. After 1900, a number of publishers did not or currently do not put the date on the title page of their first editions.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Carried Away

People tend to get carried away by the romance of old books and paper, and it's easy to see why. The thrill of the hunt, the joys discovery, and the marvelous stories locked up in dusty old letters, journals, and books provide a perfect escape – an antidote to the stresses of our daily lives. Unfortunately, overworked librarians and book dealers often find that their interaction with books and manuscripts devolves into an insistent time/money proposition. As much as we'd like to linger over an ancient text, or just sit down and read the damned thing, we've got to get that bugger cataloged and shelved. There's work to be done! We wind up stressing out over the very things that should be affording us relief. So it's a delight when, every once in a while, something comes along that is so arresting and charismatic that it commands our complete attention and gobbles up our time, productivity be damned.
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Article

Collecting - The Humorous and Absurd World of Medieval Marginalia

For most of the Middle Ages, the only way to reproduce a book was to copy it by hand. Copying was solitary, lengthy, and physically taxing work. Scribes worked long hours, in contorted positions, and abided by rigid expectations. At heart, it was a droning process, too, allowing the copier only the ability to transfer the words of another. Consequently, many scribes developed a sense of humor to break up the monotony of their hand-cramping task. It was well-deserved, for without these scribes, we would have lost an unfathomable amount of our artistic and cultural history — from antiquity onward. Luckily, we can find evidence of their playful spirits in the margins of their very manuscripts, where illustrated miniatures and writings reveal the creative personality behind the pen.
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